“When something inspires you to create, you have to run with it,” says Becky Simpson. It’s a motto she lives by, that led her to where she is today.
Simpson began working as an illustrator after an idea for a flow chart popped into her mind while she was sitting at Caffe Medici. At the time, she was working as a graphic designer in Austin. Though we often ignore our ideas, promising ourselves we’ll “get back to it later,” Simpson ran with hers. She allowed herself to focus and develop the concept until it was complete.
Today, the flow chart she created—“Should I Wash My Hair Today?”—is one of her signature pieces.
Growing Up Creative
From a young age, Simpson knew she wanted to be an artist. In fact, she can pinpoint the exact moment she told herself so.
“We were reading ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar,’” Simpson said, “and that’s the first memory I have where I remember thinking ‘that’s what I want to do.’”
She was in kindergarten and soon enough she became known as the “art kid” among her peers in the small Iowa town where she grew up. According to her, it was her reputation as the “creative one” that pushed her towards life as an artist. It also instilled a certain confidence in her work and abilities.
In college, Simpson studied graphic design. Admittedly, she was unaware that illustrations could turn into a career. A doodler at heart, though, she always found a way to incorporate her illustrations into her work as a graphic designer and was consistently praised for doing so.
It was while she was working on a graphic design project that she thought of her first flow chart.
In 2013, Simpson published her first book “I’d Rather Be Short: 100 Reasons Why it’s Great to be Small.” The book was received well. Once again, she was confident in her abilities as an illustrator and realized she had found what she dubs an “illustrator’s sweet spot.”
“[I think my designs] are unique enough where an individual feels that a product was made for them, but broad enough to sell to a large audience.”
After her book was published, she took the final step towards becoming a full-time illustrator, landing one of two slots in the Adobe Creative Residents program. The year-long program offers a select number of individuals the opportunity to focus on a passion project, sharing their process and journey along the way with the creative community.
Simpson’s passion project was her illustrations. At the end of her residency, she launched Chipper Things with 50 additional products she originally planned for.
Today, Chipper Things is sold in stores in eight states around the country, as well as Canada and her online shop. Her products can be found in three different shops around Austin: Beehive, Byron & Blue, and The Paper + Craft Pantry.
Share All the Chipper Things
When I met Simpson, she was sitting cross-legged on a white, fluffy couch at Vintage Heart Coffee. In the quaint east side coffee shop, I quickly realized her designs and illustrations are a reflection of her bubbly, charismatic personality.
Her product line is full of relatable flow charts, quirky illustrations, hand-drawn cards and fun accessories. Her second book, “The Roommate Book,” was published this past summer.
And with designs that tackle everyday questions like, “Should I Wear Pants Today?” and “How Much Pizza Is Too Much Pizza?” it’s no wonder Simpson gained an enthusiastic group of supporters from the moment the Chipper Things site went live.
She attributes the support to a year of sharing her progress and ideas. As a result, she makes it a point to continue doing the same thing, whether she’s sharing ideas, creativity or simply encouragement.
Supporting others is a reminder to Simpson that what she does has the opportunity to be bigger than her. She knows she can help others along the way. “It’s powerful to realize that we all started somewhere,” she said. “[I] started with one piece, a doodle, and I did a little more every day after that.”
Simpson is a true believer that everyone has something to give. And what you have to give is valuable to someone looking for an opportunity to grow. She hopes Chipper Things and her illustrations can offer that support to someone who’s looking for it.
Here’s to Austin
Inspiration can come from anything. You can find it in a conversation, watching a movie or reading a novel. Simpson finds inspiration in everyday things like other women, big hair, plants and even monsters. And while she enjoys drawing these things, she says real inspiration comes from others—specifically, when she sees another person doing creative, cool “stuff.”
“Talking to someone who loves what they do, seeing someone’s work, or listening to a conference—that’s what inspires me the most,” Simpson shared.
@sbrugal wants to know:
What inspires you?
We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It’s where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!